Hard work

The people of Crete used a dye to create a royal purple cloth until the Roman emperors decreed that only they could wear that color.

They made the purple dye from sea snails, writes Elizabeth Wayland Barber in her book Women’s Work—The First 20,000 Years.

Making the dye was hard work, Barber stresses. “Each little mollusk produces only a single drop of the splendid dye; so, the purple dyers had to catch and slaughter hundreds to tint a single piece of cloth.”